When it comes to cocktails, some like it hot

SOME say, “cold is king when it comes to alcoholic beverages.” It’s true that most cocktails are prepared or served with ice. 
When it comes to cocktails, some like it hot

SOME say, “cold is king when it comes to alcoholic beverages.” It’s true that most cocktails are prepared or served with ice. But in these chilly days, you may want to enjoy a classic hot cocktail, giving your stomach a warm treat.

The classics

Apart from seasonal specials like warm mulled wine and eggnog, hot cocktails like the Hot Toddy, Hot Buttered Rum, Tom and Jerry, Bishop and others are normally consider classics. You can easily find them in most bars around the world, though they may taste differently due to recipe variations.

Interestingly, most classic hot cocktails have backstories or long established histories. For example, the Tom and Jerry, a variant of traditional eggnog with brandy and rum, was created by British journalist Pierce Egan in the 1820s. The hot beverage was also featured in books and films during the last century. There are even specially made Tom and Jerry mugs, which one can find in antique shops.

“But the most classic hot cocktail to me might be the Blue Blazer,” explained Tree Mao, owner and mixologist at Mingo Bar and Restaurant. “It was created by American Jerry Thomas in the 19th century.”

Today, Thomas is regarded as “the father of American mixology.” The mixing of this cocktail is very eye-catching, especially when whiskey is lit on fire and passed back and forth between two mixing glasses, creating an arc of blue flame.

Spicing things up

Like syrups in chilled cocktails, spices are widely used in their hot siblings. Many of these spices are easily found in kitchen cupboards; like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and even vanilla extract.

“For hot cocktails, we tend to use brown liqueurs such as brandy, especially for spiced ones,” suggested Mao. “To me, I love brandy plus dark rum as it gives you a full-body taste.”

With a long history, cold-defeater Hot Toddy has hundreds of variations, which you can find online in countless easy-to-follow recipes.

Basically, you can use whisky, black rum or brandy as your liqueur to mix with hot water, honey, and lemon wedges with (or without) spices of your choice, including cloves, cinnamon sticks or star anise. Sometimes, bitters are added to the drink for a flavor twist.

Hot Buttered Rum is a variant of the Hot Toddy. This drink is best served and consumed immediately due to the butter on top. It’s believed that this cocktail dates back to 1655 when the British Royal Navy captured Jamaica, and rum replaced brandy in the sailors’ daily rations.

Caffeine plus alcohol?

Believe it or not, you don’t have to go to a bar for a hot cocktails. Alcoholic coffee beverages have become so popular that you can probably get one at your nearest cafe. Irish Coffee and Bailey’s Latte, for example, can be thought of as hot cocktails too.

If you get tired of Irish Coffee, try Jamaican Coffee (made with rum and coffee) or Royale Coffee (brandy plus coffee). Both are classic coffee-based hot cocktails.

“In Italy, many people love to drink espresso with a shot of anise-spiced liqueur,” said Mao, “There is no need to add any sugar as the liqueur used is normally sweetened.”

But is it wise to drink caffeine-rich coffee and alcohol in one glass? Caffeine can increase blood pressure and sometimes cause irregular heartbeats and heart palpitations. Some people have stomach problems or dizziness after the consumption of coffee and tea.

Alcohol, however, slows the brain’s functioning and impairs one’s ability to walk, talk and think clearly. Once mixed, the two elements don’t cancel each other out as some might assume.

So, if you enjoy such coffee-based alcoholic beverages, Mao recommends drinking only one serving per day.

Experiment at home

Warm mulled wine is a delight on cold winter evenings. It’s believed that wine was first spiced and heated in Rome as early as the 2nd century. This traditional hot drink remains popular in Europe to this day. As a bonus, it’s not hard to prepare hot mulled wine at home.

“I use half red wine and half white wine for my signature mulled wine,” explained Mao. “The white wine is first heated along with fruits and spices. I leave the mixture for a while, allowing the white wine to absorb the fragrance from the spices before straining it through a filter. Upon ordering, I pour half the spiced white wine and half red wine and warm together before serving.”

Alternatively, play with Irish cream liqueur Bailey’s — you’ll find it goes well with coffee and most black teas. Or simply add a shot of liqueur of your choosing, such as rum or tequila, to your hot chocolate for a twist in flavor.

When it comes to cocktails, some like it hot

Tree Mao

Mao is the founder of Mingo and an award-winning mixologist with more than 14 years of experience in the field. Here he shares two of his favorite hot cocktails recipes, which you can try at home.

When it comes to cocktails, some like it hot
Tree Mao / SHINE

Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy


45ml Scotch whisky

20ml honey

20ml fresh lemon juice


1. Top the above ingredients with boiling water.

2. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, lemon slices, and cloves as desired.

Tips: Scotch whisky can be replaced by rum, brandy, or bourbon.

When it comes to cocktails, some like it hot
Tree Mao / SHINE

Mulled Wine 

Mingo Signature Mulled Wine


12 pieces of sliced apple

10 cloves

5 pieces of sliced orange

4 tbsp sugar

1 bottle white wine

1 bottle red wine


1. Boil the white wine with the other ingredients and filter out the wine mixture.

2. Warm the half spiced white wine with half red wine before serving.

Where to go

Mingo Bar & Restaurant

Tel: 5456-1214

Address: 1690 Huaihai Rd M.

Opening hours: 7pm-2am (Bar)Classic hot cocktails are a great treat during winter.

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